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3A Evaluation — Oral exam


The final oral exam in English consists of a 20-minute conversation about a social topic between you and the examiner. You are given the topic 20 minutes before the exam begins and can prepare notes, although no dictionaries are allowed.


Subjects for the oral exam are generally topical issues concerning society, culture or politics. You don't need any specialist knowledge to talk about them (especially when it comes to politics), but a general awareness about social trends will be useful. Other topics may be more abstractly philosophical, or personal.

You should begin the exam by presenting your topic for 5 or 10 minutes, explaining and justifying your point of view. You may refer to your notes, but you shouldn't just read them out. This will be followed by questions that force you to speak more spontaneously and defend your argument.

You can sign up for your oral on the 3A noticeboard in the Language Department beginning in early November. If you have just come back from an English-speaking country, you might want to sign up early, in case you start to lose the fluency you've just gained. If you haven't spent time in an English-speaking country recently, you should wait till later to do your oral exam (and make sure that you come to the classes on Tuesday afternoons to practise).

The oral exam counts for 30% of your third-year mark.


The oral exams aim to encourage you to speak as spontaneously as possible and demonstrate your speaking abilities. Presenting a topic and responding to questions are two slightly different skills, ones that you will need in your professional lives in the future, and both are tested by the exam. The topics serve as a pretext to get you to speak — there are no right or wrong answers — but you are expected to have intelligent things to say about them.

Marks are awarded for different aspects of speaking skills:


Questions? Contact Ian Offord.